Thursday, March 13, 2008

Avax XC2 - Maneuvers over the water

Today I joined Kevin, from Eagle Paragliding, and Brad Gunnuscio at Lake San Antonio to feel out the "Dark Side" of the Avax XC2. I made three tows and was able to do all the normal maneuvers. Here's a quick rundown of the maneuvers accomplished and the behavior of the XC2. First let me say, I'm no skygod or test pilot. I'm just a guy who is upgrading from an Aspen2 to the Avax XC2. Prior to today's flights I had ONE flight of 2 hours duration on the Avax XC2.

1. Asymmetric collapse with riser released: Heading controllable and required one vigorous pump to remove tuck. No dive to control.

2. Asymmetric collapse with riser pulled to keep collapse in, allow to dive before wt. shift/control input: Glider turns 90 deg. and dives until control & wt. shift, then responds very quickly with accurate control - even allowing turn into the collapse. No tendency to stall or spin with brake application.

3. Same as (1)&(2) accelerated with 1/2 to full speed bar: Same outcome with just a bit more dive. Even with speed bar held, full control and turns into the collapse were easy.

4. Full Frontal collapse with risers released after collapse: Collapse was swift & complete, with quick, symmetrical recovery after a short "hover" and controllable surge.

5. Full Frontal collapse with risers released after collapse - Accelerated (3/4 bar)and released at collapse: Collapse was swift & complete. The wing has a "hesitation" or "hover" of 2-3 seconds before surging to regain flying speed. This hesitation can be exacerbated if the release of the speed-bar is delayed until the wing is in its retarding stage. The surge is controllable.

6. B-Line stalls: Are easy to apply and the wing breaks well from tip to tip, with good rate of descent.

7. Full Stalls: The wing stalls with deliberate action & with a lot of warning. You need to TRY to stall the wing. When it does go, it falls back farther than the Aspen 2 did (probably due to the additional trim speed.) The high aspect ratio of this wing is evident as it snakes around & attempts to recover. I used a 2-stage recovery that was straight forward & the surge was more dynamic than the Aspen 2, but completely controllable. The third stall recovery wasn't as smooth - it started to surge asymmetrically (due to incorrect inputs no doubt), so I restalled it and recovered normally.

I'm rapidly becoming a fan of the XC2. I think my reaction certainly can be attributed 50% to the "It's MY wing SO I LOVE IT Syndrome" but the remaining 50% of my opinion is that of a pilot who felt comfortably at home on the wing after less than 2 hours.


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